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Pride Events and Festivals

Joan-E to Grace Okanagan Pride This Weekend

Joan-E will be performing this weekend at Okanagan Pride

With Okanagan Pride week events fully underway, as are the preparations to host on of the most popular and well respected drag queens all of the Pacific North West, Joan-E.

Joan-E, best known for her quick wit, banter and flirtatious attitude, comes from the creative imagination of entertainer, Robert Kaiser. Robert has been performing on stage and at events since 1990.

This weekend Joan-E will bring her wonderful sarcasm, frocks, boas and high-heels to Okanagan Pride, to join in the celebrations of the landmark achievements that have been made this year.

This year for the first time in its history, the City of Kelowna has proudly raised the iconic rainbow flag at City Hall and proclaimed Pride Week in Kelowna. This is a momumental for the Okanagan’s LGBT community because the previous Mayor, Walter Grey, refused to endorse all Pride celebrations.

“I am so pleased that the City of Kelowna has taken this great action,” said Joan-E. ‘The symbol of the Pride Flag over City Hall may literally save lives. Coming out is one of the hardest things any young man or woman will ever do. It is even harder in smaller cities or towns where there are smaller LGBTQ Communities and less visible Queer images and role models.”

In larger urban centres there are more resources for the LGBT community and they tend to be tolerant and more liberal.

“People can feel alone and may also think that they are the only ones who feel the way they do,” Joan-E explained. “For a young person coming out, the Rainbow flag at City Hall is HOPE. When communities stand up to be noticed and counted it sends a strong message that we are everywhere and that we are not going away.”

With Vancouver Pride, one of the larger Pride celebrations in North America, just wrapping up two weeks earlier, Joan-E is looking forward to celebrating Pride in the Okanagan.

“It is my privilege to have been asked to come perform and be part of Okanagan Pride,” said Joan-E. “I only hope I can do my job properly and put smiles on faces. As much as I love big city Pride, it will be amazing to have everyone from the community in one facility celebrating together. Oh, and I’ve decided to fall in love this weekend!! Hey, a girl can hope right?”

This weekend the community is encouraged to come show their pride, and to celebrate the diversity and variety of life and culture in the Okanagan. This the perfect opportunity for members of the community to demonstrate their openness, tolerance and supportive attitude during all Pride Week activities.

“I am honored to be amongst the LGBTQ community of the Okanagan and their supporters,” Joan-E explained. “I am proud of each and every one of them and proud of their accomplishments. I want them to know I think they are Brave. Anyone can walk hand in hand with his or her same sex partner in the Castro in San Francisco or on Davie Street in Vancouver. Those who do so in Kelowna, Cranbrook or Vernon who fight the hard fight… They get my props!”

As a leader in the LGBT community, Joan-E is sure to leave a positive impression at this year’s Okanagan Pride celebrations.

“I look forward to seeing old friends and making many more new ones!” said Joan-E “Happy pride!”

Joan-E will be performing Saturday afternoon at the family-friendly festival in Kelowna City Park and Saturday night at the Coast Capri Hotel for the Pride Dance Party.

Joan-E’s notable achievements include:

  • Host of the Vancouver Pride parade for the past 12 years.
  • Awarded Imperial Crown Princess, Entertainer of the Year, Empress XXVIII and Citizen of the Year in Vancouver’s LGBT community.
  • Drag Queen of the Year by WE magaznine
  • Hero award from Xtra West
  • Friend Indeed Award from The Community
  • 2010 Jose Honours award
  • US State Congressional award
  • Golden Jubilee Award of Merit from HRH Queen Elizabeth II
  • Inducted into the Queer Hall of Fame in 2009

4th Annual Okanagan Pride Week Events

With Pride Week officially proclaimed by Mayor Sharon Sheppard and the City of Kelowna, Gay Okanagan, the organizing committee for Okanagan Pride, is ready to welcome everyone to attend a number of events throughout the week.

Wednesday, August 10: Movie Night

Head to the Okanagan College Students Servicese Building theatre for a screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Costumes are encouraged. Doors open at 7; how at 7:30pm. $5 donation.

Thursday, August 11: Golf

Orchards Greens Golf Club will host the 3rd Annual Golf Night. 9-holes of golf, followed by dinner. Prizes. All ages welcome. Beginner to advanced. Pre-registration is required. $40 for ORC Members; $45 general; $20 dinner only.

Friday, August 12: BBQ & Volleyball

A classic Okanagan evening wouldn’t be complete without a fun game of volleyball at Hot Sands Beach in City Park. The Centre, the home of Kelowna’s LGBT resource centre, will be hosting an outdoor BBQ – burger and beer for $10.

Saturday, August 13: Pride Festival

Performer Kim Kuzma and singer Jeffery Straker will entertain the crowds from noon-4pm at Kelowna City Park at the family-friendly afternoon. Vendor displays and activities.

Saturday, August 14: Pride Dance Party

The Coast Capri welcomes Vancouver’s legendary Joan-E and DJ Jeffery Michael and DJ Drew will entertain party-goers all night long for Okanagan Pride’s largest event of the week. $20 for ORC Members; $30 general. 9:00pm – 3:00am. Stay at the Coast Capri and save – quote “Pride” at time of booking for discounted package rates.

Okanagan Pride Week Kicks Today off With Monumental Flag Raising

Pride Week kicked off today in the Okanagan and to mark the 4th annual event, the City of Kelowna raised the iconic rainbow flag on the courtesy pole outside of Kelowna City Hall.

This is monumental event in Kelowna and signals a shift of change. In 1997, past Mayor Walter Grey declined to sign a proclamation of Gay and Lesbian Pride Week and abolished any future proclamations for the city.  The BC Human Rights Tribunal also ruled against the City of Kelowna, calling the action discriminatory.

The action of the past Mayor left a large cloud over the city and it wasn’t until 2005 when Mayor Sharon Shepherd was elected that the LGBT community would begin a long slow process to rebuild a relationship with the City of Kelowna.

Today, MayorSharon Shepherd overturned her predecessors decision, and on behalf of the City of Kelowna, had the rainbow flag hoisted and proclaimed August 8-13, 2011, Pride Week in Kelowna.

“It seems to be a way of acknowledging that we do have a diverse community and that we are also very respectful of differences in this city,” said Mayor Sharon Shepherd.

Gay Okanagan has been working with the city to have the rainbow flag flown at City Hall.

“We are extremely proud and honoured to have the rainbow flag flying high at City Hall this year,” says Pride Chair, Dustyn Baulkham. “The City of Kelowna and Mayor Sharon Shepherd have been extremely supportive of the LGBTQ community since Mayor Shepherd was elected in 2005.”

For more information on Okanagan Pride Week events, visit their website. 

The Most Festive Residential Window Decoration Celebrating Outgames and Pride in Vancouver

During the 2011 North American Outgames and Vancouver Pride throughout Vancouver residents hung rainbow flags in their windows, celebrating the two special events. There was one particular window that captured the attention of many.

Located in Yaletown, this particular residential window was an elaborate rainbow flag encompassing two walls of windows. At night it glowed vibrant red, yellow, green, blue and purple colours. During the day, the sun sparkled off the giant flag.

Vancouver Pride Parade


Under clear blue sunny skies, the 33rd annual Vancouver Pride Parade proceeded through the streets of downtown Vancouver on Sunday, July 31, 2011. Over 640,000 spectators were expected to line the parade route.

The 2011 Vancouver Pride Parade was hosted by Vancouver’s popular entertainer, drag queen Joan-E. This year there were over 150 entries including local community groups, businesses, politicians, corporate partners, and LGBT supporters.

Hero’s celebrated in the 2011 Vancouver Pride Parade include:

  • Local Hero - Joan-E
  • Role Model - Bill Siksay
  • Posthumous Pride Hero - Bob Tivey
  • International Role Model - Pat Rocco

Celebrities Night Club – Pride Ball


On Friday, July 30, Celebrities Night Club, the largest gay night club in Western Canada, hosted the annual Pride Ball. DJ Mattilda warmed up the crowd for Grammy nominated remixer and producer, DJ Dave Aude hit the decks. Pride Ball goers loved David’s wide variety of music and his style. The club was themed after Candyland – with a giant ice cream cone in the centre of the room, and all kinds of sweet treats adorning the room. The go go dancers were also looking tasty that night!

2011 Caya Davie Street Party Wrap-Up


Under clear skies and a much welcome warm summer evening, the 2011 Vancouver Pride weekend officially kicked off last night with the Caya Davie Street Party.

Vancouver Pride Society President, Ken Coolen admitted that the event did get off to a rough start. The event was supposed to start at 7pm, but volunteers were not trained to sell tickets to the events and set-up for the event ticket sales and vendors inside the events weren’t fully set-up until around 8pm.

The event was well attended with thousands of people enjoying the live music, DJ’s and performers on the the multiple stages. Notable group, Sugarbeach performed their 2011 North America Outgames theme song, “Come on Out”.

Vancouver Pride Terry Wallace Memorial Breakfast

This Saturday, July 30, the Vancouver Pride Society will be hosting the annual Terry Wallace Breakfast. Terry Wallace was one of the founders of Vancouver Pride and the intimate pancake breakfast is an annual tradition to raise funds in his honour.

The community breakfast is prepared by local church groups and volunteers. Breakfast is by donation and includes pancakes, sausages, fruit and coffee.

Breakfast will be served from 9:00am – 12:30pm.

Vancouver Pride Run

While the athletes are competing in various competitions and events for the 2011 North America Outgames, FrontRunners, a local LGBT friendly running group, has organized a 10km Pride Run at 9:00am Saturday, July 31.

The Pride Run is a 10km run and 4km walk starting at Lumberman’s Arch in Stanley Park. The event will start off with a warm-up and the singing of the anthem. There are water stations located along the race route.

All participants are eligible for door prizes and those registered with the Outgames also receive age category medals for the top three placings.

Participants should arrive before 8:30am for check-in. Restrooms, gear check and food vendors are all located at the start/finish line.

Register online.

2011 Vancouver Pride Festival

Following the Vancouver Pride Parade on Sunday, July 31, is the annual Pride Festival, located at Sunset Beach in Vancouver’s Westend. Over 125,000 people attend the post-parade festival.

There’s a large family-friendly marketplace with over 140 vendors including artisans, community organizations, corporate partners, etc. There’s lots for sale and free samples! There is live music by local DJ’s, performers and headline acts on the festival stage, and the beachfront beer garden is a popular stop to get ice-cold beverages.

The festival runs from 11:00am – 6:00pm.

2011 North America Outgames: Opening Ceremonies


The 2011 North America Outgames were officially declared open on Monday, July 25 in front of a large crowd that had gathered at the Vancouver Art Gallery.

There were live performances by Destineak, Sugarbeach, and Tyrell Witherspoon.

The ceremonies were the final destination for the Running of the Flags relay. The flags started off at Vancouver’s City Hall earlier in the day. The flags came from three different routes: UBC, SFU and Whistler / Grouse. The flag bearers from throughout the day paraded the flags onto the stage for the singing of O’Canada.

The event concluded with the lighting of the Outgames cauldron. It was lit by the youngest Outgames participant, a 15 year old softball player, and the oldest participant, an 86 year old runner.

Vancouver 2011 Outgames: Running of the Flags – Planes, Trains and Automobiles!


On Monday, July 25, the Vancouver 2011 Outgames kicked off with the Running of the Flags, marking the official start of the week-long celebration of sport, human rights and culture.

The flags all started at Vancouver’s City Hall where Vancouver Mayor, Gregor Robertson officially proclaimed Pride Week. Over 70 runners carried flags on three distinct routes in and around Vancouver.

The first group to leave was the Whistler – Grouse – Vancouver Group. Our group began on the steps of Vancouver’s City Hall where Vancouver 2011 Outgames chair, John Boychuck officially announced the start of the flag relay.

Dashing down the steps, each of us jumped into our own awaiting Corvette. We were driving through Vancouver to Helijet’s downtown heliport.

From there we boarded the helicopter and flew to the top of Whistler Mountain. It was a spectacular flight through the mountains, passing by many prominent landmarks.

We landed and the top of Whistler Mountain and carried our flags to the gondola past a crowd of on-lookers. We took the gondola down to Whistler Village where we handed off the flags to the second set of flag bearers, who continued on the flag relay route. The flags would make their way around Whistler and Blackcomb and then were taken back to Grouse / Vancouver where the relay continued on to the steps of the Vancouver Art Gallery for the lighting of the cauldron.

I was honoured to be a flag bearer for the Vancouver 2011 North American Outgames. What made it special was being at City Hall for the kick-off, taking the flags for the longest distance single leg of the entire relay, meeting many new friends, and carrying the flags by plane (Helijet), train (Whistler gondola – which falls under the Railway Act in British Columbia), and automobile (Corvette).

The 2011 Outgames events and activities continue on throughout the week and finish with the Closing Ceremonies at the Plaza of Nations on Saturday, July 31.

2011 Davie Street Dance Party

It’ll be a hot summer evening on Friday, July 29 as the weekend Pride festivities kicks off in Vanouver’s Westend. Head to Vancouver’s Davie Street Village for the Davie Street Dance Party, an evening long block party. The street festival includes dancers, vendors, volunteers, beer gardens, DJs, and live entertainment on multiple stages.

The Street Party offered two entrance options; a $20 Express Pass or a $10 General Entry. The express pass allowed for faster entry and re-entry into the fenced in party. The Street Party area had four entrances and the line-ups to get in moved very quickly.

Once inside the ticketed gated event area from Burrard to Jervis, event-goers can purchase alcoholic beverages from a number of vendors.

For more information, visit the official Davie Street Dance Party website.

City of Vancouver Proclaims Pride Week in Vancouver


From the steps of City Hall in Vancouver, Mayor Gregor Robertson, proclaimed July 25 – 31, 2011 as Pride Week in Vancouver.

The event was held on the opening day of the 2011 North American Outgames. Notable attendees included John Boychuck, chair of the Vancouver Outgames, Ken Coolen, chair of the Vancouver Pride Society, Vancouver City Councillors, and local celebrity drag queen, Joan-E.

Following the reading of the Proclamation, the Running of the Flags relay for the Vancouver Outgames began, starting with the first group which headed to Whistler, followed by the SFU and UBC flag route groups.

Outgames Opening Day Celebrations

Today is the kick-off for the Vancouver 2011 North America Outgames. The day starts off with the raising of the rainbow flag at Vancouver City Hall at 11:00am. Vancouver Mayor, Greggor Roberts will read the official proclamation and then the rainbow flag will be hoisted to the top of the flag pole.

Following the flag raising, the Running of the Flags will begin. The rainbow, GLISA and Outgames flags will be carried by over 75 flag bearers along three distinct routes: Vancouver-Whistler-Grouse, UBC and SFU. The flags will come together at 6:00pm for the Opening Ceremonies.

The Opening Ceremonies will be held at the Vancouver Art Gallery started at 5:00pm. Sugarbeach will be performing the Outgames theme song, Come On Out. The Running of the Flags flag bearers will arrive at 6pm, and then the cauldron will be lit.

The day wraps up at Club 560 (560 Seymour Street) with a fun night of entertainment including headliner Destineak. The event goes from 7:00pm – 2:00am. Special guest, Sugarbeach, will also perform “Come On Out”.

Canada Place Lights Up like a Rainbow for Vancouver 2011 North American Outgames

Canada Place Corporation will light up the night sky during the Vancouver 2011 North America Outgames taking place July 25-31st 2011. Each night the sails will be lit in the rainbow colours, in celebration of the Outgames.

“Canada Place is pleased to support the GLISA North America Outgames as we light up our iconic sails in a rainbow of colour from July 25-30,” said Robyn McVicker, Director Communications & Public Affairs, Canada Place Corporation. “Each night the sails will shine in celebration of this fantastic event and as a welcome to all the Outgames athletes and participants from around the world.”

Located in the heart of Vancouver’s downtown harbour front, Canada Place generates over $1 billion per year in economic activity and is the inspiring national landmark welcoming local residents, visitors and ships to the West Coast.

2011 North American Outgames, Running of the Flags

The Vancouver 2011 North American Outgames gets underway at 11:00am at Vancouver’s City Hall on Monday, July 25 with the reading of the official Proclamation and the running of the flags relay event.

Over 70 runners will carry the Outgames, Gay and Lesbian International Sports Association (GLISA), and rainbow flags from City Hall to various destinations by air, water and land.

The first of three legs will kick off the carrying of the flags from Vancouver City Hall. Leg two will see the 3 flag runners depart the University of British Columbia. The third leg will depart from the base of Grouse Mountain.

“I’m really excited to be one of the flag bearers for the 2011 North American Outgames,” said Brian Webb, founder and Chief Editor of HomoCulture.ca. “I am proud to be a part of the LGBT community and as a recreational runner, I am honoured to be taking part in the flag relay.”

Brian will carry one of the flags from HeliJet’s downtown launch pad to a landing area towards the top of Whistler Mountain. Brian will then run with his flag bearer group  from the helicopter landing site to the Whistler Gondola, down the lift to the bottom where they will meet the next set of runners. They flags will then be passed to those runners who will continue the relay through Whistler’s village. The Whistler route flags will eventually be flown back to Grouse Mountain where they will continue on their route to downtown Vancouver.

All three sets of flags will eventually converge at the Vancouver Art Gallery at 6:00pm for the lighting of the Outgames cauldron.

For more information visit the North American Outgames website.

Vancouver Pride: It’s Time to Celebrate!

In 2009, the Vancouver Pride Society adopted a three year theme to Educate, Liberate and Celebrate. Each year one of the three elements became the theme of focus for the event organizers. In 2011, the final year of the three year theme, Vancouver Pride will Celebrate!

Today in Canada, Pride is a time to celebrate what has been achieved. Canada has protected sexual orientation under the Canadian Human Rights Act, allows LGBT persons to serve openly in the Armed Forces, and has legalized same-sex marriage and adoption.

In Canada, we celebrate and carry our message of unity, diversity and acceptance of our LGTB community. Pride has helped Canadians celebrate the way we view each other and the way we live our lives.

But the movement for LGBT rights and freedoms continues. Homosexuality is still illegal in almost 80 countries and is punishable by death in seven countries. Brutal hate-crimes still continue against the LGBT community, even in Vancouver and other Canadian cities. In 2010 Statistics  Canada reported Vancouver as having one of the highest violent hate crimes involving assaults and threats, compared to other Canadian cities.

During the 33rd Annual Vancouver Pride season, stand together in solidarity for those who continue to fight for their rights to exist. Take a moment to think about those who fight for liberation around the world. March for those who can’t walk with pride. Speak for those who are silence and oppressed.

Show up, be visible and be proud.

Vancouver We Love You [The T-Shirt Project] Pride Shirts On-Sale Now [Contest]


Vancouver Blogger, Brian Webb, sports his limited edition Vancouver We Love You Pride t-shirt, with his neighbourhood, Yaletown, in the background

With the Vancouver 2011 North America Outgames and Vancouver Pride one week  away, Vancouver We Love You [The T-Shirt Project], now has a limited edition Vancouver Pride t-shirts on sale. They are the perfect way to symbolize your passion and pride for Vancouver.

The v-neck American Apparel t-shirts are made of 100% cotton. The Vancouver We Love You [The T-Shirt Project] limited print-run Pride t-shirts are available in men’s sizes x-small to x-large. They are available for a limited time at Top Drawers, located at 1030 Denman Street in Vancouver.


Vancouver, We Love You is supporting the Vancouver 2011 North American Outgames and with Brian Webb are giving away a pair of tickets to Outgames Closing Ceremonies. Show Vancouver and the world your pride! Enter for a chance to win two tickets to the Vancouver 2011 North America Outgames Closing Ceremonies on Saturday, July 30 in Vancouver, BC at the Plaza of Nations. To enter:

Tweet (valid for 1 entry):

I want to win tix to the @2011NA_Outgames Closing Ceremonies from @VANweloveyou and @br_webb. #OutgamesPride http://ow.ly/5D4AZ 


Leave a comment on this blog post (valid for 1 entry), explaining your proudest moment in Vancouver.

Contest closes at 5:00pm PST, Friday, July 22, 2011. One random drawn winner will be announced on this blog post on or before Monday, July 25, 2011.

Read the complete contest rules.

- – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

This contest is now closed.

Congratulations to Billy Hur, you are the winner of two tickets to the closing ceremonies of the Vancouver 2011 North America Outgames on Saturday, July 31, 2011.

Thank you to everyone who entered. Please keep watching for more contests coming soon.

Picnic in the Park

One of the most anticipated family friendly pre-pride events in Vancouver is the Picnic in the Park. On Saturday, July 23, Brockton Oval in Stanley Park will be alive with DJ’s, barbecue fare, beer gardens and activities.

There are lots of activities for kids including face paining, games and balloons. Adults can participate in the tug-of-war, high-heel shoe toss, drag races and the popular watermelon eating contest.

For more information, visit the Vancouver Pride Society website.

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